Last Updated on 07/03/2023 by Clotilde Passalacqua
How many days in Rome do you need? What’s the best way to see the city?
It’s hard to know how many days to spend in Rome because there’s so much to see and do! You could easily spend a week or more and not see everything.
Planning a trip to Rome can be overwhelming even for me who was born there and lived there for more than 30 years. It is often difficult to advise friends that want to visit if I don’t know well their preferences.
That’s why we’ve created this helpful guide that will show you how many days to spend in Rome based on your interests. Whether you’re interested in ancient history, art, food, or wine, we have a plan for you!
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How long do you need in Rome? … The short answer!
The short answer that tries to balance everything is at least 4 days.
Rome is a beautiful city with something for everyone, 4 days will give you the possibility to focus on different areas and sightseeing. However, whether you are interested in ancient art and architecture, or prefer to do more leisurely activities, it’s important to plan your visit well so that you can make the most of your time there. If you don’t have time to plan you can copy this amazing 4 days itinerary!
How many days in Rome for the first time
If you’ve never been to Rome before, we recommend at least 4 days. 4 days will give you the possibility to visit the main attractions such as The Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican museum, but also to mix ancient history with culinary experiences and a taste of local life.
Four days is a good amount of time to spend in Rome, you’ll be able to see many popular sites and museums in that period of time, but keep in mind that for some it could feel a bit rushed.
On the first day, explore the city’s ancient ruins and marvel at its awe-inspiring architecture. On the second day, discover the less known attractions of ancient Rome and enjoy the popular neighborhood of Trastevere. On the third day take a food tour after spending the day between the Vatican museum and Castel Sant’Angelo. On the fourth day, wander the streets and soak up the vibrant atmosphere, relax with a coffee in a piazza and people-watch to your heart’s content, before ending the day walking in the beautiful Villa Borghese.
Here you’ll discover the ideal 4-day itinerary for you to see Rome.
How many days in Rome if you travel with kids
If you plan on bringing children we recommend at least 6 days. Rome is not only beautiful but also great fun, and kids will love the ancient history, street performers, gelato (of course!), and culture! If you are really short on time you could pack everything into a well-planned 4 day itinerary.
A trip to Rome can be magical for children. The Eternal City has so much to offer in both its ancient and modern life. A family vacation in Rome is great because you can enjoy all of these things together! It is easy to integrate on the same day activities that engage kids and more traditional sightseeing.
Don’t miss Explora, the children’s museum of Rome where kids can play, learn, and have fun. Riding a rickshaw or renting a little boat in villa Borghese will also keep the young ones entertained between museums and other attractions.
A visit to the Catacombs will give kids a spooky look into the death and burial traditions of ancient Rome. If you’re looking for a more modern experience, book a kid’s activity in one of the museums you are going to visit as they usually plan interesting activities to engage kids in the current exhibitions. Check out here all the things to do in Rome with kids.
How many days in Rome if you are interested in ancient history.
If your main interest is in the ancient history of Rome, we recommend at least 7 days. This amount of time will allow you to explore museums and take a guided tour of the most important sites.
Rome’s ancient history is fascinating, and you still have the opportunity to experience it by visiting ancient monuments and admiring masterpieces from throughout the centuries, seemingly on every street corner!
The Roman forum and the Colosseum are for sure at the top of your list, but instead of just strolling by these wonders of the world, with a bit more time available it is better to book a guided tour. That will give you more information about the sites and make your visit even more interesting.
The same applies to the Vatican museum or the catacombs. If you want to learn everything about ancient Rome, be sure to reserve a good chunk of your time for it. Taking tours with expert guides will give you a more profound understanding of the city and its history.
If you enjoy history, you should also plan to pay a visit to some of the city’s churches, which were quite instrumental in its development. The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Maria Maggiore, and Santo Stefano Rotondo are just a few of more than 900 churches in Rome.
If you want to see everything in fewer days you can, but you’ll be running around and might not have time to fully appreciate the beauty of the art on display.
How many days in Rome if you like modern/contemporary architecture
If your interest is mainly contemporary architecture and design, 2-3 are the days needed in Rome to see the most important building.
Despite being recognized for its historical richness, many people are unaware that Rome has evolved into a thriving modern metropolis.
Rome’s architecture has been shaped by many civilizations over thousands of years, which can be seen everywhere you look throughout this city! Even if ancient history has made Rome famous, in the last 20 years many famous architects have been commissioned to design buildings here. It’s an up-and-coming city in respect of its modernity and contemporary designs.
One of the most iconic examples of contemporary architecture in Rome is MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts. Designed by Zaha Hadid, this museum is home to a permanent collection of contemporary art, as well as rotating exhibitions.
If you are an architecture fan, a visit to MAXXI is a must! The building’s design is unique and stunning, and the exhibitions are always interesting.
Another great example of contemporary architecture in Rome is the Auditorium Parco della Musica. This concert hall was designed by Renzo Piano and has quickly become one of the city’s most popular venues for music performances.
The Roma Convention Center is now open after many years of building. Located in EUR, it was designed by Massimiliano Fuksas, who chose to create a giant glass structure that lets natural light inside. Also known as the Fuksas cloud (nuvola di Fuksas, for the initial shape)
The Ara Pacis is a Roman monument that was built in honour of the peace treaty between Rome and the Parthian Empire. The monument is housed in a protective building design by Richard Meier.
Despite being an ancient monument, the Ara Pacis has been cited as an inspiration by many contemporary architects. It’s often used as an example of how to harmoniously blend old and new architecture.
Can we forget about the other Richard Meier’s work in Rome? An impressive church, Dives in Misericordia, is worth seeing in a suburban neighborhood for its unusual design and walls that mimic three sails.
Some of these incredible buildings are a little out of the way so it is important to plan a bit of extra time if you want to see them in addition to the classic sightseeing. If you want to integrate them together with a more traditional itinerary then plan for 5-6 days.
How many days in Rome if you are a foodie
If your interest is food and you’d love to try traditional and modern Roman cuisine, 3 days should be enough to sample the best Rome has to offer.
Rome’s diverse history is evident everywhere you look – from its architecture to its art. The food scene is no different, with many traditional dishes having been passed down for generations.
We recommend focusing your time on Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto (which has several restaurants that serve up traditional Roman cuisine).
If you’re visiting Rome towards the end of summer, it’s definitely worth checking out Taste Rome. As well as food stalls with cuisines from around the world, you’ll also find drink tastings, cooking lessons, workshops, and much more.
It’s a great way to try out some new restaurants and learn about the food culture in Rome! If you’re not visiting during that time of year, we recommend you take a food tour with a local guide or a small tour where you will also learn some history of the city.
These 2 companies offer guided food and history tours that will help you get the most out of your time in Rome! It’s a great way to learn about some of the more traditional places to eat, as well as finding some hidden gems only locals know about.
We recommend going on at least one of these tours while you’re in Rome, no matter how long you plan on staying!
How many days in Rome if you like art
If you’re an art lover, Rome is definitely the city for you! With its abundance of classic and modern art museums, there’s no shortage of things to see. Consider at least 5-6 days.
One of the most popular art museums in Rome is Galleria Borghese. This gallery is home to a vast collection of sculptures and paintings from some of the world’s most famous artists, including Bernini, Titian, and Caravaggio.
The gallery is housed in a beautiful villa that was once owned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese – hence the name. It’s definitely worth a visit if you love art!
Another great option for art lovers is the Vatican Museum. This museum is one of the largest in the world and houses a vast collection of sculptures and paintings from countless artists, including Michelangelo and Raphael.
The Musei Capitolini is a museum complex in Rome. It’s one of the largest and most important art and archaeology museums in Rome, with the majority of the collection coming from ancient Rome. If you want to see what has survived from antiquity and learn about Roman history, this is a great place to start!
Palazzo del Esposizioni is a neo-classical exhibition palace in Rome. It’s one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious art galleries – and it’s definitely worth checking out! The museum hosts an incredible variety of both classic and modern works, which you can admire under one roof.
Don’t forget to visit the MAXXI and MACRO, which are not only a must-see for architecture fans but also a fantastic location to view their fascinating contemporary art exhibitions.
How many days in Rome if you want to live the Roman culture
If you want to enjoy the local culture without being overwhelmed by museums and sightseeing, a three-day trip should be sufficient.
Walk around the less know neighborhoods like Garbatella, sit at the local cafes watching people around you, buy fruit and veg at the local markets, and go shopping in independent shops like the ones in Rione Monti.
San Lorenzo is a student neighborhood, home to the University of Rome La Sapienza, which is the largest university in Europe.
The neighborhood is known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. It’s an alternative Roman neighborhood, ideal if you want a more local atmosphere.
What could be better than spending some quality time with locals and learning about their habits, customs, and culture!
ONE OF THE BEST TOURS IN ROME TO FEEL LIKE A LOCAL: Rome by Vespa Sidecar
If you really want to feel like a local, biting is better than jumping on two wheels renting a scooter. If, however, the idea terrifies you, then, this tour in a Vespa sidecar is the most engaging tour you can do.
You will be able to see Rome from a completely different point of view (it is also ok for kids 6 and older).
I owned a scooter in Rome since I was 18, and I can promise you that there is something magical about going around on a bike in Rome. In this case, with a side car you have the added bonus of the extra safety that you don’t get just with the 2 wheels.
What are the recommended things to do in Rome?
Rome is a stunning, magnificent city (I was born there and have spent the majority of my life there) in which it does not make sense to simply run from one place to the next in order to see everything. You must also embrace Roman life. In Rome, millions of tourists visit every year, but even in the most visited areas, ordinary people live and work with regular routines.
Sit in a cafe and watch the people go by. This is the way to see and feel Rome.
No matter what your interests are, Rome can offer something special for you. With so much to see and do, it’s best to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to really explore everything this ancient city has to offer. Have fun!
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